DESIGN WITH NATURE: Stefano Boeri Architetti’s Smart Forest City plan for Cancun, Mexico, takes the concept of a green city to entirely new levels

Note to Reader:

Stefano Boeri is an Italian architect and urban planner. He is passionate about green infrastructure and demonstrates the art of the possible with his fantastical-looking plant-covered buildings. He is famed for his tree-clad Bosco Verticale (vertical forest) skyscraper complex in Milan and is now working on urban forestation projects in countries around the world, including Switzerland, Holland, Brazil, Albania and France. Boeri’s now has a vision for ’forest cities’.

Photo Credit: Stefan Boeri Architetti

The Forest City: An urban manifesto for a circular society

“The Smart Forest City near Cancun, Mexico, is a city masterplan with a difference. Called the ‘first forest city of the new millennium’, it is a contemporary city-cum botanical garden, which, as well as hosting 130,000 inhabitants, will contain a staggering 7.5 million plants. From an energy perspective, it will be entirely self-sufficient,” wrote Abi Millar in an article published by the Design Build Network.

“It’s certainly a change from the original plan for the site – namely to build a gigantic shopping mall. Situated on a 557 hectare site, which was previously occupied by a sand quarry, the proposed city includes 400 hectare of green space.”

The Urban Forestry manifesto

The project forms part of Stefano Boeri’s Urban Forestry manifesto, which holds that global action on urban forestry is an essential means of managing the climate crisis.

“Smart Forest City Cancun is a Botanical Garden, within a contemporary city, based on Mayan heritage and in its relationship with the natural and sacred world. An urban ecosystem where nature and city are intertwined and act as one organism,” said Stefano Boeri.

“Indeed the effort of the smart Forest City of Cancun could make our world a better place, reducing significantly the negative impacts on the environment, possibly being a pioneer for a new kind of human settlement, a man made city for nature and biodiversity.

“Thanks to the new public parks and private gardens, thanks to the green roofs and to the green facades, the areas actually occupied will be given back by nature through a perfect balance between the amount of green areas and building footprint.”

A Circular Economy

The Forest City would fulfill the principles of the circular economy.

“The built-up areas are surrounded by farmland, irrigated by a water channel. There are navigable canals throughout the settlement, which transport water from a huge basin at the city entrance,” wrote Abi Millar.

“There is also a series of ‘water gardens’, designed to boost the city’s resilience against flooding. In an age of rising sea levels, this is becoming something of a necessity for towns located near the coast.”

To Learn More:

To read the complete story about the project, download a copy of Stefano Boeri unveils Smart Forest City covered in 7.5 million plants for Mexico

Also, read these articles posted previously on the website:

“The Liuzhou Forest City is the first experiment of the urban environment that’s really trying to find a balance with nature,” said Stefano Boeri, an internationally acclaimed architect

GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE INNOVATION: Architect Stefano Boeri has a vision for “forest cities”

Photo Credit: Stefano Boeri Architetti